A12 set for upgrade

A GOVERNMENT minister has given the clearest indication yet that the Government is committed to upgrading one of the region's most important roads within the next decade.

A GOVERNMENT minister has given the clearest indication yet that the Government is committed to upgrading one of the region's most important roads within the next decade.

The A12 between Chelmsford and the M25 will be upgraded to a dual three-lane carriageway - the first stage of improving the road up to the Suffolk border at Stratford St Mary.

It was six years ago when the then Secretary of State for Transport Alistair Darling gave the go-ahead for the Highways Agency to investigate phased development work on the route to be carried out.

Since then, there has been no official announcement of when, or even if, the project would be carried out.

At the time, Mr Darling said the strategic importance of the route had to be considered at the same time as parallel main rail route from Ipswich and Colchester to London. Part of the track south of Brentwood has since been confirmed for inclusion for the east-west Crossrail project which will tunnel under the capital, with stations including Oxford Street.

East Anglia minister Barbara Follett said: “The trunk road widening proposals are just totally vital. Detailed development work has been undertaken and has identified some initial proposals to widen the A12 to a dual three-lane carriageway between the M25 to Chelmsford.”

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The A12 through Essex is partly purpose-built dual carriageway and partly the result of building a second carriageway alongside the original road back in the 1960s.

At places - especially between Marks Tey and Witham - the road is relatively slow with potentially dangerous openings in the central reservation.

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